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USS Elk River (IX 501) in December 1968.

USS Elk River (IX 501) in December 1968.
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Class: ELK RIVER (IX 501, ex LSMR)
Design: Navy LSMR 501
Displacement (tons): 1,280 full
Dimensions (feet): 230' oa x 50' x 9.5'
Armament: none
Accommodations: 20 officers and 51 enlisted
Speed (kts.): 11
Propulsion (HP): 1,400
Machinery: 2 diesels, 2 screws

501ELK RIVER1 Apr 1967Brown SB, Houston24 Mar 194521 Apr 19451967

IXNameTInactStrikeDisposalFateMA Sale
501ELK RIVER198613 Aug 199924 Feb 2001Target--

Class Notes:
After World War II service USS ELK RIVER (LSMR 501) was decommissioned on 1 August 1946 and laid up in the Columbia River reserve fleet. She was withdrawn from reserve in 1967 and converted to a deep submergence support ship by Avondale Shipyards at Westwego, La., and the San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard, Hunters Point. The basic 203.5 foot LSMR hull was lengthened and eight-foot wide sponsons were added to both sides to improve the ship's stability and increase working space. A superstructure was added forward and an open center well was provided for lowering and raising equipment. A 65-ton gantry crane ran on tracks above the opening to handle small submersibles and diver transfer chambers. An active precision positioning system was installed for position holding without mooring.

In November 1967, ELK RIVER was underway off Long Beach, California in support of the SEALAB III Project. She was then operated by NOSC at San Diego as a test and training ship for deep-sea diving and salvage from 1969 to 1986. ELK RIVER tested the prototype Mark 2 Mod 0 Deep Diving System that was installed on the two PIGEON (ASR 21) class ships. This system could support eight divers operating at depths to at least 1,000 feet in helium oxygen saturation conditions. In 1982 the Mk.14 CCSDS (Closed Circuit Saturation Diving System) was tested in ELK RIVER. The large gantry crane and other equipment were removed in October 1986 and the ship was reduced to a barracks hulk at San Diego.

Ship Notes:
501ELK RIVER(ex-LSMR 501, compl. 24 May 1945). Given a river name on 1 Oct 1955 along with the other LSMRs. On 26 March 1967 effective 1 April 1967 ELK RIVER (LSMR 501) was reclassified to IX 501.

Page Notes:
Compiled: 19 Oct 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021